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Time to clean Delhi up!

The week has been full of irony as the whole country on one hand discusses the film “Shandaar” and on the other hand sanitation seems to be the major area of crisis in the national capital. There are many places within the city that are on the verge of turning into a garbage dump. With the conclusion of Navratri and Durga Puja and the festival season moving towards Diwali, the current situation could dampen the festive mood.  This seems to be the grave point of discussion at this hour which the corporations and the Government need to address on priority. In many areas of the city there are huge heaps and piles of garbage creating trouble for pedestrians, vehicles and all the people living within the vicinity. 

This usually happens to be a time when the Government looks to ensure a complete city clean up. However, on Sunday nearly 60,000 sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) called off their two-day long strike which saw piles of garbage dumped on roads in the national capital. The workers’ union representatives met with the AAP government which has promised to release funds to municipalities in December instead of March next year. The sanitation crisis had hit the national capital again with the municipal corporations going on strike demanding permanent jobs, arrears, and cash-less medical insurance.

Earlier in June this year, there was a strike by the garbage cleaners which had led to a severe crisis. The situation had even given rise to a number of diseases. However, when the it was finally mitiagted, the Government promised that such a crisis wouldn’t arise again. However, in less than five months, there seems to have been a lack of commitment from the Centre as the crisis returned last week. On Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia had called a meeting with the different corporation bodies to discuss these issues in detail and come to an immediate conclusion. 

The residents of north and south Delhi though seem to be less concerned about the situation than East Delhi. Most of the garbage disposals in South Delhi have been outsourced to private contractors. Though the Government claims that south Delhi has no problems as far as sanitation is concerned, there are some residents in the area who have complained of minor filth in some parts of the city. 

 This could be quite a blow to  Prime Minister Modi’s  Swachch Bharat Abhiyan; an initiative meant to improve sanitation and cleanliness. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan should move from the realm of “expensive advertisements and photo opportunities” and focus should be on the sanitation workers. The army of workers responsible for this crisis is a whooping 93,000 and more who ensure a clean life to all as long as their conditions are met.  The Muncipal Corporation of Delhi owes 22,000 of them arrears running up to Rs 5-6 lakh each. 

With the festive season approaching, the politicians have somehow managed to sway the workers. The greater problem is the fact that such scenarios in the future could led to diseases and contaminations that may cause yet another epidemic. Thankfully, the AAP government has taken a mature decision i in order to sort this crisis out on priority, festival or no festival.
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